Hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
During my week-long break, I packed in as much fun as possible. One true highlight from this year was getting to spend several days with my grandma (dad's mom), then my grandparents (mom's parents). I hadn't seen any of them for an extended period of time for a while, and it was great seeing them, visiting and catching up.
There were several other fun highlights as well:
I went to the Dillon Christmas party for the first time in about five years, and saw several members of my family I hadn't in years. Talked about a lot of issues, and it was great talking to people with the same perspective I have! Got to see the latest addition to our family too, and he's a cutie!
Prior to the party I helped my grandma cook, and she had me mash about six pounds of potatoes by hand. She's 89 years old, and I can barely keep up with her, but I loved spending time with her in the kitchen. She's an amazing cook, and a great lady!
The Black Hills received rain, on top of several inches of snow, and the county roads were the slickest anyone could ever remember.
Christmas Eve day I helped my uncle feed, looked at his calves and yearling heifers and visited. I was in my element, and it was fun. Then I mashed about six more pounds of potatoes, put together a relish tray, finished a dessert and just helped grandma in the kitchen while we caught up. The whole family showed up for lunch and a gift exchange. The younger generation also had a heated battle of a scrabble card game Holly received at the Dillon party.
Christmas Eve night we all drove home, and brought grandma and her dog with us. Christmas morning we opened gifts, then cooked (again) for our Christmas lunch.
In three days I consumed more calories than I had in the past month, and they were mmm mmm good! I had turkey, prime rib, ham, and was a big reason we needed so many mashed potatoes too... Salads, homemade rolls and jelly, homemade pies and fudge and peanut brittle was rounded out the three days of eating. And don't forget the raspberry punch (none alcoholic) from the Dillon party, I think I still have a slight sugar buzz from that stuff.
Side note - last night I worked out for the first time since all this eating - it wasn't pretty.
I fed our cows, calves, yearling heifers, and anything else I could while home. Every day from the day after Christmas through the first I was outside, feeding hay and cake and chopping ice. It was great! I've really missed seeing the calves this winter, and can report they continued growing just fine without my supervision. I also moved a few cows one day.
I took 1,074 pictures (I just looked)
My mom, sister and I drove my grandma home, then slid off the road going about 3 mph and got stuck. It was one of those situations where there was nothing I could do, and we were just along for the very slow ride. I had conveniently taken my shovel and tow rope out of the trunk to make room for luggage as we were heading to Rapid City to pick up round two of grandparents after dropping round one off. Fortunately we were just down the road from my Uncle's, and my cousin brought her new tow rope (Christmas present) down and we got out.
Following a very long and trying day, my mom and her parents stayed in Rapid after their flight got in three hours late. My dad, sister and I took the vehicle he had brought to Rapid for supplies home, after hot wiring the trailer lights in a restaurant parking lot with a hand held flashlight for light after they stopped working. That's the just the tip of the ice burg for that day, but it gives you a taste.
One good thing was my mom, sister and I stopped at the Mistletoe Ranch, outside Hill City, SD, and partook of their after Christmas open house. This was also the day the studded mud and snow tires were put on my car : )
My mom and the grandparents made it home the following morning. We all caught up, my grandpa helped feed, and for New Years we played cards.
Kyle and I went over to our friends house one night and ate dinner and played games until 11:30. I was the driver and Kyle was the drinker.
Kyle also went to Gillette for New Year's without me, which is why I was at home, playing Phase 10.
I entered all our calf weights into Excel, and my dad and I cussed and discussed all the topics looking at those weights brings up.
I ordered cards for the Roundup.
In preparation for the "big blizzard" that was forecasted, I doubled up the feeding one day, put number 1 diesel in everything, and cleared spaces in the sheds and shops for all the vehicles. While the blizzard was cold, it wasn't anything like predicted at our house, thank goodness.
I watched the video of my parent's trip to Europe, twice. They showed it to both my grandma and my grandparents.
My mom and I explained to her parents all the technological aspects to ranching today.
I learned my great grandpa on my mom's side had the highest selling and best set of finished hogs seen to date at the Denver Stockyards in the 1920's or there abouts.
Holly and I baked chocolate chip cookies and a cherry crisp one afternoon.
There was also one very sad event. On January 1, around 7:00 am, a guy named Andrew Hammond, that I went to high school with, was found dead in his car. No one knows what happened yet, but it is currently believed he froze to death after his car slid off the road into a creek. The only thing I've read said it is believed he got out of the car and walked around it once prior to getting back in. He had no winter clothes with him, and his cell phone was found in his pocket.
He was 24 years old, and one of those happy outgoing people that knew no strangers. This tragedy is hitting a lot of people in my community very hard, and your thoughts and prayers for his friends and family would be greatly appreciated.